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€50m Cork project a 'game changer' for city investment

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Before picture of Capitol Cineplex

Before picture of Capitol Cineplex

An artist’s impression of what the Capitol development will look like after a €50m investment

An artist’s impression of what the Capitol development will look like after a €50m investment

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Before picture of Capitol Cineplex

Cork has clinched a €50m "game changer" city centre redevelopment project that will create 450 new jobs.

John Cleary Developments' ambitious plan aims to transform a city eyesore into a premium retail, business and leisure complex.

The old Capitol Cineplex site on the Grand Parade will be transformed into a five-storey complex with retail and commercial space as well as an artisan food innovation centre aimed at supplementing the nearby world-famous English Market.

The 0.65-acre site has been partly derelict since the famous Cork cinema closed a decade ago.

John Cleary Developments (JCD) bought the site last year for an estimated €6m - a fraction of what it cost to assemble the city centre area at the height of the property boom.

Ten years ago, it cost another developer a reported €70m to painstakingly put the site together through multiple property purchases including shops, pubs, restaurants and the Capitol Cineplex.

In 2008 planning was sought for a scheme worth up to €200m that would have included 100,000 sq ft of retail development.

However, the project never went ahead after the financial and property market crash.

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney said it was "hugely significant for Cork" that such a long-derelict site was to be totally transformed.

Heartbeat

"Cork is the heartbeat of Ireland's food and drinks sector, the primary producer of beef, dairy, brewing and distilling, as well as artisan food producers and the main centre of farmers' markets," the Cork TD said.

"This development could tell that story and also project the future with food research, innovation, tasting and testing," he added.

JCD is the firm behind the €45m Albert Quay office development, the largest in Cork's history, which will eventually accommodate 1,700 workers.

Mr Cleary also masterminded the hugely successful City Gate development in Mahon, which now includes the Mater Hospital.

A Colliers International report described the project as "a catalyst project for Cork city centre - a game changer".

The project includes more than 48,500 sq ft of retail space spread over three floors and 37,000 sq ft of office space on its top levels.

A key element of the project will be the restoration of the Oyster Tavern, a famous pub which is more than 200 years old.

"Site work will start immediately, subject to (Cork City Council) planning permission with over 300 construction jobs and we anticipate completion in time for Christmas 2016," a JCD spokesperson said.

Irish Independent